- NotGraphs Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/not -

Bud Selig’s Suggestion Box: Regarding Playoff Expansion


Hi Bud! It’s me, Eric.

I know we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on things. That’s okay. I’m willing to let bygones be bygones if you are.

The reason I’m writing today is because I have some ideas which I believe represent improvements on your own ideas. This is not to say that I think your ideas aren’t already good. Rather, I think I can make them even better.

It looks like your plan to expand the playoffs to 10 teams will pass a vote and be implemented at some point in the next few years. Congratulations! My question is: Why stop at 10? If we have already committed ourselves to the idea that the extra revenue (or excitement or whatever) that would be generated by adding two more playoff teams trumps the fact that the 162 game regular season should be as meaningful as possible by maximizing the chance that the most deserving teams have of winning in the postseason, why not just go all-in and literally let them all in?

First things first, you would need to expand the league to 32 teams to make the numbers work out. No problem. Maybe put one team in Charlotte and one in Memphis or something like that. (If one of those doesn’t work, you could always get the Expos back together.) With 16 teams now in each league in the playoffs, you would only be adding two rounds. Make the first and second rounds best of three game series, and we are only talking about adding, at most, six games per team to the season.

Think of all that money. All that excitement. It would be like your very own NCAA tournament! Here’s a scenario for you to ponder: After 162 games, the Astros go 56-106 and are paired against the 102-60 Phillies in the first round of the playoffs. As is quite possible in such a small sample of games, the Phillies lose two of three and are bounced from the playoffs by the worst team in baseball. Wouldn’t it be fun to see all the good work the Phillies did during the regular season be placed on the line in a short series in which random variance is king?

If you don’t like this idea, I have a backup plan: ALL PLAYOFF EVERYTHING. Let’s ditch the regular season all together. From opening day forth, everything is one big playoff.  Using the seeding from the season before, the teams would play a single elimination tournament consisting of 31-game series. Meanwhile, losing teams would play consolation series to keep busy. In my humble opinion, this is the perfect middle ground for the hardcore “Playoffsareacrapshootists” and the lovers of playoff intrigue such as yourself. True, fans may tire of seeing their teams face the same opponent  so many times in a row, but they can rest assured that every game will be played in a “playoff atmosphere.”

I hope you’ll consider my suggestions and I look forward to hearing back from you.